Next year’s Autism Full Employment Act will be put together over the next several months with direct communication for the autistic community. The goal of this act is to improve employment opportunities for adults on the spectrum seeking work.
University partners including UCLA and Cornell will be aiding the autism community in writing out the details of this act to hopefully complete the details by the end of 2020. Groups such as the Autism Society and Autism Speaks that already have some form of job placement programs will be expanded upon. All of the latest efforts to create jobs or place people with autism in jobs happening nationwide will be considered. While autism is specifically named, other developmental differences are meant to be included in the application of the act.
Typically, family members within companies will advocate for their loved ones so that they can find work at the same companies. The Autism Full Employment Act of 2021 will support and encourage actions like these, as well as other possibilities, such as forming groups and mentoring programs. Financial incentives from the government, such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, are expected to help encourage employers to take on more workers on the spectrum. In light of the ongoing pandemic and monetary struggles, many businesses may welcome the funds and hire more people. The writers of the Act are looking to previous subsidies that have shown increases in hiring actions towards people with developmental differences.
There are several other important issues that will be addressed. One goal of this Act is to require state and local governments as well as private employers to hire a certain amount of people with developmental differences. Another issue is providing on-the-job-support from coaches, counselors and trainers in order to keep people working once they do get hired. Low payment for many of these positions is another problem that the Act hopes to address, both for those on the spectrum and their support workers. The Employment Act is also set to help those who may not have advanced or unique skills, so that they can also find appropriate work.
People in the autistic community not only struggle with finding work, but also underemployment. While they may be capable of certain more skilled jobs, they are sometimes placed in positions that they are overqualified for. This is due to a variety of factors, such as a lack of interview skills or communication skills. Many work programs were created for people with other kinds of disabilities, such as physical ones, which may not be satisfying for an autistic person who is more capable in certain ways.
It is important for parents to investigate transitional programs for graduating students. By the age of 22, school provided programs come to and end. There are limited programs that help adults with autism, though many are beginning to form due to the increase in autistic adults in the population. Life skills and jobs skills training are essential. This Act will hopefully create more opportunities for autistics to find work.